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Calgary residents keep hens despite anti-chicken bylaw

Click to play video: 'Calgary residents keep hens despite anti-chicken bylaw' Calgary residents keep hens despite anti-chicken bylaw
WATCH: A Calgary man has been told his four hens are not welcome in his Auburn Bay backyard. As Kim Smith reports, the man was visited Wednesday evening by bylaw officers and told he had 30 days to get rid of his backyard chickens. – Dec 30, 2016

A Calgary man has been told his four hens are not welcome in his Auburn Bay backyard.

A bylaw officer visited Lee Craig on Wednesday evening and said he had 30 days to get rid of his backyard chickens, which he’s had since April.

“Otherwise it’ll be a fine then a 24-hour notice and we’ll get a court date,” Craig said.

Calgary bylaw prohibits residents from keeping livestock, stating: “Keeping such animals introduces problems into the neighbourhood such as noise, odours and pests attracted to the animal’s food and hay.”

READ MORE: Calgary council votes down backyard chicken pilot project

Despite the bylaw, Calgary families continue to keep the animals.

“There’s no noise. The smell is extremely minimal. It’s not like barking dogs,” Craig said.

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The Canadian Liberated Urban Chicken Klub (CLUCK) group estimates 400 families in Calgary are raising hens.

“There’s a lot of families that are raising hens and neighbours don’t even know they’re raising hens,” Paul Hughes with CLUCK said. “They’re obviously doing it responsibly.”

Many Canadian cities allow backyard chickens. Most recently, Okotoks town council voted to change several bylaws to allow hens in backyards. Families have to obtain a permit and can only keep three hens and no roosters.

“Over 500 cities in North America, including Vancouver, New York and Red Deer (allow chickens),” Hughes said.

In March, Edmonton’s Urban Hens Pilot Project was extended for another year and increased the number of licences from 19 to 50 to further study potential issues.

A spokesperson with the City of Calgary said bylaw officers don’t actively go out looking for chickens, but they do investigate when they receive a tip.

Craig said he doesn’t know who reported him to the city. A neighbour who lives next door told Global News he doesn’t have a problem with Craig’s chickens.

“They’re always very quiet. They don’t smell; well taken care of. It’s never been a problem,” Cody Reilander said.

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The backyard chicken issue in Calgary hasn’t been raised since November 2015 when councillors shot down the idea of a pilot project.

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